Zoeller fights request for changes in telephone privacy laws

Former Attorney General Greg Zoeller (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller met with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Monday to convince the agency to deny requests made by industry groups proposing to weaken federal telephone privacy laws.

According to the Indiana Attorney General’s Telephone Privacy Division, the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) requested changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that would create exceptions to the ban on robocalls to cell phones.

The TCPA is one of two federal laws that works to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls to phone lines.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Telephone Privacy Division said if this proposal goes through it will likely result in more unwanted calls.

They said unless the consumer has given “prior express consent,” automated calls or “robocalls” and text messages to cellphones are unlawful.

The ABA’s petition requested for exceptions to the “prior express consent” rule, allowing in certain situations for robocall’s to be allowed. The CBA’s petition requested to add legal protection to callers who claim they robocalled the wrong person.

Zoeller said changes would make it easier for telemarketers to violate consumers’ telephone privacy rights.

According to the Indiana Attorney General’s Telephone Privacy Division, they received nearly 13,500 complaints in 2014 about unwanted calls. They said more than half of the calls were about robocalls.

Zoeller, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and attorneys general of Illinois, New York, Tennessee and Utah sent a formal letter to the FCC last week voicing their opposition to the changes requested by the ABA and CBA.

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